Thursday, October 22, 2009


This blog is permanently going inactive. I'm continuing and merging with my other blog, "Confutus says", in a new "From the ground" which is tied to my web site.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More nations

At the moment, the most attractive of the various possibilities for study is pushing the connections with nations and peoples so that all the nations on the site are linked. History in general, modern history, and now classical and medieval history have reached this point, and there are a few more that are close. I'm doing these a few nations at a time, spread out among seven or eight different topics. There's a continoual temptation to expand the list of topics I want to get to, far beyond what I can reasonably accomplish in a day.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rattle, Rattle

That was the feeling I got, speeding through history to add a few more nations to the major periods, and going through the centuries of modern history. I used to go through these adding one nation at a time, which was a snail's pace. Now I'm up to tortoise speed. There aren't many new insights, but this finally included some connections to what will be the early colonial period of Latin America.

The next most significant improvement was a revision of the paragraph introducing the modern history of Western Civilization, and getting that page properly linked back to the ones that refer to it. Filling proper detail for the subdivisions of Western Civilization and the specific centuries, to go to another level of detail, is only partly done.

Another one was sorting out the connections of English speaking peoples to Africa. Instead of a flat dozen nations, I have these connections sorted out by region. I still haven't reached more specific connections, but I'm getting closer.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Instead of going all the way through the nations, a project that takes a considerable length of time, I decided to just go and hit the high points of the major peoples. What I noticed this time through is that I'm doing a lot of interconnecting; adding new nations, sorting them into subgroups, and providing links to the subgroups if they aren't already there. This is often a supremely boring task to do over and over, so I try to break it up into pieces.
Yet, most sections of the knowledge base that I work on are hung up in just about this same area. It's hardly a wonder that I have a hard time getting to the nitty gritty of social analysis, or to the broad themes of religion, government, and economics, not to mention culture. I got through a round of these and I'm taking another look at history next.

And more history

I decided to do a slight variant on my "what's needed most" technique, and started again with a pass through history. This time, it led me to classical and medieval history, where I'm within a few sessions of getting the nations linked to as far as there are pages. I then went to modern history, and and that's now a firm limit. So, I went into the 18th century and linked a few nations. These seemed to open up the possibilities for further examination considerably, and the 19th century did the same. The 19th century is the period when the British Empire was the predominant world power, and the most important nations it ruled are now present and accounted for. The 20th century is getting close to the limits on nations and cities I have included, and the early 21st century is not far behind. Since the 21st century page had reached a critical limit on size, I separated most its sociology section out on a separate page as I have done for others. I've been absent from work on modern history for some time, and it felt good to get back to it.

I then went to look at sociology. Sociology in general and peoples in general didn't have much I could do with them, and I didn't add any nations this pass: I want more more backed up demand for them before I add the next batch. Western Civilization was more interesting. The only major branches I am missing now are Scandinavian peoples in prehistory and antiquity, and Scandinavian and Balkan peoples in the future. The subdivisions will be a different matter, but I will get to them eventually.

I did a little review of the history of Western Civilization, and stopped when I got to modern history; I'll save that for the next pass through. I worked somewhat on connecting nations to Western Civilization, and got through Asia and Africa. That is some important groundwork for the modern period, when I get to considering which nations established which colonies in which parts of Africa. I've never been able to keep those quite straight in my mind, except for a few.

Next was a section on Anglic, or English-speaking peoples. I did quite a bit of pigeonholing of nations into groups in that subject, too, except on this I only got to Africa and not through it. These are presented in approximately the order of relationship they bear. I finally got most of the communities on this group pushed into the United States where they are most closely connected.

I did a similar review for the United Kingdom, which doesn't have quite so many nations linked to it yet. I didn't do much with the United States on this pass, but I will be doing more in the next one. Canada and Australia are set aside. Latin peoples are up next.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update Time

After struggling with planning of what work needs to be done most and taking a couple of passes through historical periods to clean them up a little, I would up rewriting the main index page of the knowledge base, and separating out the sociology aids from prehistory and antiquity, and did an update of the whole thing last night, so all the changes I've made in the past month or so are now visible.

As soon as I did that, I promptly went back to work on the knowledge base itself, and specifically on prehistory and antiquity. I know have these to the point where and end is in sight, that is, these are almost connected to the full range of nations and peoples. There is still some work to do: For instance, the 124 nations need to have a few more that are historically significant, and in sight doesn't mean there yet. However, this will be helpful. The next major work will be reviewing history of all these nations: Very few of them have actually been inverted as the rest of the knowledge base has, to go from complex to simpler aids. In addition to reviewing their history, I also want to establish links to topics of social structure and change, and these need to have historical sketches and examples from particular peoples. There will also need to be links to the grand systems of the world; religions, government, and economics.

I expect to be able to carry on informed discussion of these topics. Grand themes are nice, but they seem to be hardly a topic for social chat.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sweeping through history

AGain. The look through social structure and change, and through institutions, culture, and so forth didn't take very much time at all, considering how little progress I had actually made in history. So, I started over with history in general.
After going through the nations and cities I had connected to history, I am now current. That is, all of the nations and cities that actually have pages, are now at least mentioned on the main history page, and distributed to various peoples as far as I have considered appropriate. Most of the lower-level aids to history are also developed. Rather than going through these any further, what is demanded now is to go through the divisions of history to bring them up to date.

I went through prehistory, updating connections to nations, and appropriately distributed to nations, including updates of the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa, and stopped with the Americas. I did similarly with Early prehistory, middle prehistory, and late prehistory, and with Antiquity.

There, I stopped. Dead stuck. I couldn't bring myself to slog through the millennia, doing a little bit of updating. I could, however, go on to classical and medieval history, modern history, and the future, adding and distributing connections to more nations and cities. So, what went wrong, and now what?

Partly, I think, I have a sense that other things need to be done, and many of these have to be connected with nations and peoples. For one, not all of the nations are present in the five major subdivisions of history, and none of them are quite caught up. For one, the nations aren't fully distributed to their various peoples: for instance, on the list of nations, there are several that belong with Western Civilization, that aren't there yet, and so with each of the other three groups.
Another is that these major peoples aren't fully connected with each other. Another is that Social structure and change doesn't have sufficient examples of nations to work with, and neither do Institutions or Culture. Another is that things like the agricultural revolution, hunting and gathering peoples, and the like are itching for me to work on them more. Another is that it feels like about time to do another update of the site, and I need to do a review of the largest files and see whether any of them need to have new pages split off in order make them more manageable.
So with all these other things competing for attention, I'm going to set the 5th millennium BC aside for now, work on a few other things, and come back to it when it begins to seem necessary and important.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Slogging around the world

Sometimes it feels like it. Going through the various countries is often much more tedious than I expect when I do an overview. Nevertheless, it has to be done. I went through Western Civilization (which as the reader may recall is still mostly Europe since I'm dealing with ancient history and prehistory), and got links to web sites for the largest nations. The Middle East required inverting a couple of countries, but I keep imigining I've done more than I actually have for most of the rest of Asia.

I did finally get to African peoples, and tackled dividing up those nations. Here, I'm dealing with modern colonial-based nations, since I have only the haziest notions of native African peoples. This wasn't so hard to set up as I thought it would be. There is a UN-recognized Geographic region of West Africa which corresponds nicely to the way I had things broken down, except that the Mahgreb region I consider part of North Africa, which I am treating as culturally part of the Middle East. I moved Cameroon to Central Africa, since it seems to fit slightly better there. That left me with three regions: Southern Coastal West Aforca, with nations on the south side of the "bulge" of Africa, the Western West Coast, witn nations mostly on the western coast of the bulge, and Interior Western Africa, mostly those land=locked nations in the interior. A had thought about dividing these up by the countries that colonized them, but this kind of division would be broken up geographically and heavily biased toward nations of French colonial origin, and give even less attention to native African peoples than one based on geographic regions. This is a rough first draft, anyway. With all nations, closer tattention will have to be given to particular peoples within them.

I also added four more cities to the city list, and got to the end of the list, so I went to the City population site to notes note which ones will be coming next.
The next part shoud go a little more quickly.